Sigma Phi Epsilon
Sigma Phi Epsilon was founded at the University of Richmond, formerly Richmond College, in 1901. It began as a small fraternity with only 12 members and has since grown to one of the United States’ premier fraternal organizations. In the past 20 years, Sigma Phi Epsilon has recruited more men than any other collegiate fraternity. The fraternity currently boasts more than 320,000 lifetime members.
Sigma Phi Epsilon’s founder was a young man named Carter Ashton Jenkens, a transfer to Richmond College from Rutgers University in New Jersey. At the time of his transfer, Jenkens had left behind his brothers in the Chi Phi fraternity. He was able to find five fellow collegiates interested in forming their own fraternity. The six young men started out meeting in an unheated tower room of Ryland Hall. By Sigma Phi Epsilon’s fifth year, it had 14 chapters in nine states. By the 10th year, 17 more new SigEps chapters were chartered.
A Fraternity of Distinction
One of the key ways SigEps distinguishes itself from other fraternities is through the Balanced Man Program (BMP) first unveiled in 1991. The idea of the BMP is to move beyond the stereotypical college fraternity experience, which Sigma Phi Epsilon believes does not serve the modern brother’s needs. The BMP focuses on scholarship, leadership, professional development, and life skills.
As soon as a brother joins Sigma Phi Epsilon, he is granted the full rights and responsibilities of all members. This allows him to mature as a man and a student. Brothers are expected to set and reach meaningful goals and hold each other accountable in the pursuit of those goals. Each brother has a mentor who helps him through a series of four challenges meant to help him succeed in college and transition out of university culture into a successful life. This goes along with the fraternity motto, “Building Balanced Men.”
Sigma Phi Epsilon Symbols
The Sigma Phi Epsilon colors are purple and red; these colors date all the way back to the wallpapering in the tower room where the fraternity first met. They are often referred to as dark red and royal purple. SigEp’s symbol is a golden heart, chosen to represent brotherly love. Founder Carter Ashton Jenkens designed the first fraternity badge, which is currently a golden heart surrounded with a black enamel heart-shaped shield. The badge contains the fraternity’s Greek letters and a skull and crossbones. The meaning of these symbols is divulged only to members upon initiation.
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